June 22, 2003

The Problem of Agricultural Emissions

New Zealand is a rather rural place. Not a lot of industry other than the occasional film crew shooting an epic fantasy. But being the green, left-leaning country that it is, it wants to be sure to meet its committments to combat global warming under the Kyoto agreement.

Apparently one of the most serious threats to the enviroment is the animal kingdom itself. It is reported that 15% of the world's methane is produced by ruminants. Those are animals that chew cud. The principal offenders are cows and sheep. If there is anything they have in New Zealand is cows and especially sheep. They produce 90% of the country's methane.

To fund research into reducing farm farting, the New Zealand government is proposing a flatulence tax on farmers. They expect to raise NZ$8.4 million a year. The Kiwi dollar is worth even less than the Canadian dollar or roughly the equivalent of Monopoly money, so this is only about US$4.9 million (2.9 million). It is nonetheless a burden on farmers, who will be forced to pay NZ$300 for ever 500 head of cattle or 3,000 sheep, while everyone will benefit for the cleaner air.

I've gotten wind that Mrs Holford is proposing a similar tax around here.

Posted by david at June 22, 2003 08:52 PM